Court sentences Lula to almost 13 more years in jail

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Thursday, February 7, 2019

Brazil's former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (pictured) has been given a new jail sentence for his role in a corruption and money laundering scheme,

The 73-year old leader of the leftist workers party was sentenced to an additional 12 years and 11 months.

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Lula has been in prison since last April serving a 12-year sentence for illegally receiving 3.7mn reais (US$1mn) from engineering company OAS, which spent the money on refurbishing a beachfront apartment for Lula in return for contracts with state-run oil company Petrobras.

The new sentence is for illegal payments of 1.02mn reais made by construction firms Odebrecht and OAS that was spent on restoration work on a farmhouse in the municipality of Atibaia, also in exchange for contracts with Petrobras. Lula claimed he was innocent as the farmhouse in question is owned by a friend, but the judge said the former president and his family had benefitted from the restoration works due to their frequent visits to farmhouse.

Lula's lawyers said they will appeal the latest conviction.

There are five other pending charges against Lula linked to different cases, which could extend his jail time even more.

He denies all the charges, claiming they are part of a rightwing plot to bring him down.

The charismatic leader ruled Brazil from 2003 to 2011 and enjoyed strong popular support.